In words I never thought I’d say, it appears the Koch brothers are down with marijuana legalization. If you don’t know who the Koch Brothers are, they’re the Mr. Burns-like billionaire political donors who are determined to privatize everything.
Two Koch representatives, Vikrant Reddy of the Charles Koch Institute and Mark Holden of Koch Industries, will be speaking at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 18. The topic is criminal justice reform, and they’ll be speaking on a panel with Snoop Dogg and Weldon Angelos, who is the founder of Extravagant Records.
Snoop is obviously a weed icon, and Angelos has his own history with marijuana. Angelos spent 13 years in prison over selling marijuana, but he was originally sentenced to 55 years because a mandatory minimum sentence required it in Utah. Charles Koch was part of the reason Angelos was released early, because he was released while President Obama and Koch were cooperating to tackle criminal justice reform.
“I have friends who smoke pot… It’s ridiculous to treat them as criminals,” David Koch said in the 1980s.
A Koch-backed report from last year actually tried to quell fears that marijuana legalization will lead to “Big Marijuana,” meaning that the marijuana industry would become highly corporate. “Worry about bad marijuana — not Big Marijuana,” the report says.
Mark V. Holden, senior vice president and general counsel of Koch Industries Inc., said last year that weed should, at minimum, be decriminalized. In 2014, the Koch brothers funded an ad for a libertarian senate candidate whose slogan was “more weed, less war.” A 2015 article in The Week claimed the Koch brothers are libertarians who “support gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana, but they champion free-market principles and are economically very conservative.”
It appears the Koch brothers might be down with pot, and they might be hoping to make a bunch of money off it sometime soon. The Koch brothers: Your new weed dealer.